Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bonnie & Clyde

I read an interesting article about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow today.

What I found so intriguing was that both of them were very short (Bonnie was 4'11" and Clyde was 5'7"). Not because I thought they had Napoleon complexes or anything like that, but because they really knew how to live out loud, with spades of life packed into their small bodies.

Looking at the pictures and reading descriptions of what the two infamous (or are they just famous? One wouldn't call Robin Hood infamous... I think Bonnie and Clyde are sort of in that category...) criminals did, I was a little jealous.

I certainly don't want to steal or murder, but I do think that the amount of adrenaline they must have had would have been an exquisite feeling. They were only 23 and 25 (Bonnie, Clyde, respectively) when they died (did I just spoil a story that someone doesn't know about??) and had their whole lives ahead of them. They didn't have children, they weren't even married, and yet they knew that they wanted to die together.

Isn't that the kind of zeal and passion for life and for a loved one that we all search for? Books, poems, movies, entire T.V. shows, whole websites are devoted to that search and capture of love. The reason Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare's most famous work is because of that very thing-- love, and how difficult it is to keep.

After having thought about it for a few hours now, I'm almost glad that Bonnie and Clyde died young. They whooped it up while they could and they did as much as they could, knowing their time was limited. I don't feel that old age and grandchildren would have been very becoming on them.

While that kind of sizzling hot intensity seems wonderful, I'm sure it's not without its downfalls. I'd much rather live to see my grandchildren and buy them wriggling puppies for Christmas that their parents won't approve of. Those are the memories I want, the photos I want, not photos of me and my beloved posing with guns in front of stolen cars, with warrants out for our arrests.

Still, though they murdered and stole and vandalized, the story of Bonnie and Clyde is enduring and endearing.

Before what would be the last time they ever saw their families, Bonnie wrote a poem. She gave it to her mother during their last meeting, a large family picnic, and though her poem is full of slang, she's extraordinarily self-aware, especially for a 23-year-old.

I was impressed with what seems like undaunted courage in the face of death, as she seems to know without a doubt that she will die for her sins.

No one here has the power or right to judge anyone else, so I just hope that their time together and their life together was worth it.

The Story of Bonnie and Clyde
by Bonnie Parker

You've read the story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and died
If you're still in need for something to read
Here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang,
I'm sure you all have read
how they rob and steal
And those who squeal are usually found dying or dead.

There's lots of untruths to those write-ups
They're not so ruthless as that
Their nature is raw, they hate all law
Stool pigeons, spotters, and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers
They say they are heartless and mean
But I say this with pride, I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.

But the laws fooled around and taking him down
and locking him up in a cell
'Till he said to me, "I'll never be free
So I'll meet a few of them in hell."

The road was so dimly lighted
There were no highway signs to guide
But they made up their minds if all roads were blind
They wouldn't give up 'till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer
Sometimes you can hardly see
But it's fight man to man, and do all you can
For they know they can never be free.

From heartbreak some people have suffered
From weariness some people have died
But all in all, our troubles are small
'Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas
And they have no clue or guide
If they can't find a friend, just wipe the slate clean
And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.

There's two crimes committed in America
Not accredited to the Barrow Mob
They had no hand in the kidnap demand
Nor the Kansas City Depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy
"I wish old Clyde would get jumped
In these hard times we's get a few dimes
If five or six cops would get bumped."

"The police haven't got the report yet
But Clyde called me up today
He said, "Don't start any fights, we aren't
working nights, we're joining the NRA."

From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
Is known as the Great Divide
Where the women are kin and men are men
And they won't stool on Bonnie and Clyde.

If they try to act like citizens
And rent a nice little flat
About the third night they're invited to fight
By a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat.

They don't think they're tough or desperate
They know the law always wins
They've been shot at before, but they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.

Someday they'll go down together
And they'll bury them side by side
To few it'll be grief, to the law a relief
But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.